Durham Coop Market Notes Successes as 2-Year Anniversary Approaches

Last week, The Bridge profiled Durham Coop Market’s Round-Up Program, which allows recipients of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program to receive a 20% discount on their DCM purchases. The program has been a remarkable success both in terms of helping people with limited budgets buy high quality food, as well as engaging the coop community around a good cause.

By any measure this program has been a huge success, which perfectly fits the storyline with DCM. Organized in 2015, the coop has surpassed many of its early goals and is poised to further capitalize on its promise in the future. Continue reading

Coastal CEO Memo Underscores Cooperative Difference

The revelation of Wells Fargo’s opening of more than two million bogus accounts has dominated the headlines for a week now. The scandal has led to more than 5,300 employee firings, and bank CEO John Stumpf apologized in an appearance before the Senate Banking Committee today.

Meanwhile, the CEO of Coastal Federal Credit Union is making a statement of his own. The memo from Chuck Purvis, released to staff at the Raleigh-based financial institution late Monday, underscores perfectly the clear contrast between the  member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative structure versus a for-profit, investor owned institution like Wells.  Continue reading

Credit Union Staff Increase Empathy, Knowledge Through Life Simulation

Clinton Barry (Greenville FCU) approaches Kerri Smith (Turbine FCU) to pawn a refrigerator to raise extra money.

Clinton Barry (Greenville FCU) approaches Kerri Smith (Turbine FCU) to pawn a refrigerator to raise extra money.

It is beyond a doubt that all our knowledge begins with experience. —Immanuel Kant

A few months ago, The Bridge focused on the Reality of Money, a credit union financial simulation for high school students in North Carolina and South Carolina. The aim of that program of course is to prepare students for adult life and to help students have a greater awareness of the value of sound money management, getting an education and making good life choices.  Continue reading

Viewpoint: Co-ops and the Living Wage Movement

With income inequality becoming a focal point issue in the 2016 election campaign, people are reflecting more on how to increase economic opportunity for people in communities across America. While politicians often debate the minimum wage (raise it? leave it alone? do away with it altogether?), some communities are taking a grassroots approach to the issue.

One such community is Asheville, where Just Economics started a living wage campaign in 2007.   According to its web site, the group’s mission is to educate, advocate, and organize for a just and sustainable economy that works for all in Western North Carolina. Continue reading

Financial Literacy Day Spotlights Credit Union Focus on Education

The cooperative business model rests on the Rochdale Principles, which of course first appeared in 1844. While quite a few of the original principles have been swept aside by the evolution of business, Principle Five – education – has stood the test of time.

For credit unions, Principle Five naturally lines up with financial education, and teaching members and the general public how to manage money effectively. South Carolina credit unions called attention to this every day mission with a one-day special event called Financial Literacy Day. Held Tuesday April 12, credit unions from across the Palmetto State gathered in Columbia to host a Reality of Money budget simulation for 50 area high school seniors. Continue reading